|Publication number||US7543369 B2|
|Application number||US 12/139,663|
|Publication date||Jun 9, 2009|
|Filing date||Jun 16, 2008|
|Priority date||Jun 10, 2004|
|Also published as||US7478796, US20050274939, US20080245939|
|Publication number||12139663, 139663, US 7543369 B2, US 7543369B2, US-B2-7543369, US7543369 B2, US7543369B2|
|Inventors||Michael J. Burkett|
|Original Assignee||Monroeville Industrial Moldings, Inc.|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (63), Non-Patent Citations (1), Referenced by (3), Classifications (13), Legal Events (1)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
The present application is a division of U.S. application Ser. No. 11/150,009 filed Jun. 10, 2005, and claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/578,574 filed Jun. 10, 2004, both of which are incorporated herein by reference in their entireties.
The present invention relates to support members, and more particularly, to support members for a guardrail.
Vehicle roadways commonly employ a guardrail assembly as a safety barrier for vehicles. Guardrail assemblies are known to include guardrail sections joined together and supported at a predetermined elevation adjacent the roadway surface. Guardrail assemblies commonly include a support assembly to support the guardrail sections at the predetermined elevation. One conventional support assembly includes a cylindrical wooden post and a mounting block for positioning between a guardrail and the cylindrical wooden post. However, certain mounting block structures may not provide a desired level of stability at the interface between the mounting block and cylindrical wooden post.
Accordingly, it is an aspect of the present invention to obviate problems and shortcomings of conventional mounting blocks.
In accordance with one aspect, a support member for supporting a guardrail with respect to a support post is provided. The support member comprises a body including a first portion adapted to engage a mounting area of a support post and a second portion adapted to engage a mounting area of a guardrail. The first portion comprises a mounting surface that is substantially concave from a first side to a second side of the mounting surface. The first side is provided with a first mounting protrusion and the second side is provided with a second mounting protrusion.
In accordance with another aspect, a guardrail assembly comprises a support post including an outer surface with a substantially convex mounting area. The guardrail assembly further includes a guardrail with a mounting area and a support member mounted between the substantially convex mounting area of the support post and the mounting area of the guardrail. The support member includes a mounting surface that is substantially concave from a first side to a second side of the mounting surface. The first side is provided with a first mounting protrusion and the second side is provided with a second mounting protrusion. At least a portion of the substantially concave mounting surface of the support member engages at least a portion of the substantially convex mounting area of the support post with the first and second mounting protrusions engaging the support post and straddling the substantially convex mounting area of the support post.
In accordance with still another aspect, a method of providing a guardrail assembly is provided. The method includes the steps of providing a support post including an outer surface with a substantially convex mounting area and an aperture extending through the substantially convex mounting area. The method further includes the step of providing a guardrail including a mounting area and an aperture extending through the mounting area. The method still further includes the step of providing a support member comprising a mounting surface that is substantially concave from a first side to a second side of the mounting surface. An aperture extends through the substantially concave mounting surface and the first side is provided with a first mounting protrusion and the second side is provided with a second mounting protrusion. The method also includes the step of providing a fastener device including a first end portion, a second end portion, and an intermediate portion. The method further includes the step of positioning the support member with respect to the support post such that the first and second mounting protrusions engage the support post and straddle the substantially convex mounting area of the support post. The method further includes the step of positioning the intermediate portion of the fastener device through the aperture of the support post, the aperture of the support member and the aperture of the guardrail. The method also includes the step of tightening the fastener device wherein at least a portion of the substantially concave mounting surface of the support member engages at least a portion of the substantially convex mounting area of the support post.
The foregoing and other aspects of the present invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art to which the present invention relates upon reading the following description with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:
Certain terminology is used herein for convenience only and is not to be taken as a limitation on the present invention. Further, in the drawings, the same reference numerals are employed for designating the same elements.
A wide variety of concave mounting surfaces may be used in accordance with aspects of the present invention. In the illustrated example, the substantially concave mounting surface 14 is cylindrically concave to provide an elongated concave cavity for receiving a substantially convex area of an elongated cylindrical member. Although not shown, the substantially concave mounting surface may be spherically concave to provide a concave cavity for receiving a substantially convex surface of a spherical member. In further examples, the substantially concave mounting surface may have other concave shapes to receive a convex area of members having a conical, elliptical or other shape. Although not necessary, the illustrated substantially concave mounting surface 14 can include a radius “R” from the first side 14 a to the second side 14 b. The value of “R” can have a wide variety of ranges depending on the particular example. For instance, the substantially concave mounting surface 14 may comprise a cylindrically concave mounting surface having a radius “R” from about 6 inches to about 8 inches. In another example, a cylindrically concave mounting surface may be provided with a radius “R” from about 6½ to about 7½ inches, such as about 7 inches.
In certain examples, the substantially concave mounting surface may be continuously concave such that the surface is concave at each position along the surface from the first side to the second side of the substantially concave mounting surface. In further examples, it is contemplated that the substantially concave mounting surface may comprise at least one substantially nonconcave portion, such as a nonconcave segment. For example, a plurality of nonconcave segments, such as planar segments, may approximate a curved surface such that the mounting surface comprises a substantially concave mounting surface.
Support members in accordance with the present invention further include mounting protrusions provided at respective sides of the mounting surface. For example, as shown in
Mounting protrusions can be positioned at various locations and may be of any size, shape or configuration to achieve increased stability at the interface between the support member and the support post. For example, protrusion configurations may be, but are not limited to, vertical, horizontal, diagonal, diamond shaped, circular or any configuration which provides for increased stability.
As shown in
Although not necessary, the mounting protrusions can also be oriented substantially parallel with respect to one another. For example, as shown in
The support member 10 can also include an optional aperture 18 to accommodate a fastening device that might be used to facilitate connection of the guardrail to the support post. As shown, aperture 18 extends through the substantially concave mounting surface 14 from the first portion 12 a to the second portion 12 b of the body 12. While a single aperture 18 is illustrated, it is contemplated that the support member 10 may include a plurality of apertures in additional embodiments. Moreover, while the single aperture 18 is shown centrally located with respect to the body 12, it is contemplated that further embodiments may include one or more apertures that are not centrally located with respect to the body.
As shown, the support member 10 may also include one or more optional wings 22 or other members adapted to display a label 23 including indicia to communicate instructions, company information, product information or other information to an individual observing the support member 10.
Support members may be formed from polymers, polymeric blends, or other materials. In one example, the support member may be formed with a polymer processing technology such as an injection molding process. The body may be at least partially hollow in order to conserve material and facilitate solidification of the body 12 within the mold during an injection molding process. For example, as shown the body includes first and second cavities 20 positioned about the aperture 18. The cavities 20 are shown to include a first portion 20 a and a second portion 20 b that are provided with a draft wherein apposed sides of the cavities are slightly tapered with respect to one another to facilitate removal of a mold insert. As shown, the outer sides of the body can further include a draft to facilitate injection of the body from the mold. For examples, as shown, the body includes a first side 13 a and a second side 13 b that are slightly angled with respect to one another and a third side 13 c and a fourth side 13 d are slightly angled with respect to one another.
As shown in
As further shown, the guardrail assembly 30 further comprises a guardrail 50. While a single guardrail 50 is illustrated, it is contemplated that a plurality of guardrails may be provided in accordance with aspects of the present invention. In accordance with one aspect, the guardrail may comprise a plurality of segments having end portions that overlap. Therefore, the guardrail assembly may include a plurality of guardrail members that have overlapped end portions that are simultaneously fastened with respect to one another and with respect to the support post by way of a fastening device. In accordance with exemplary embodiments, the support post may include a mounting area 54 and an aperture 52 extending through the mounting area to accommodate a fastening device that might be used to facilitate connecting of the guardrail to the support post. The guardrail may comprise a wide variety of materials and constructions to provide a barrier function.
A fastening device may be used to mount the support member 10 between the substantially convex mounting area 44 of the support post 40 and a mounting area 54 of the guardrail 50. Fastening devices may be provided that loop around portions of the support post and guardrail. In further examples, fastening devices may comprise one or more nut and bolt arrangements. For example, as shown in
As best shown in
Although not shown, in further examples, only the first and second mounting protrusions 16 a, 16 b contact the support post 40 at two distinct locations. It is further contemplated that, in such an optional embodiment, the support member 10 and support post 40 may be designed to eventually achieve a three point contact after sufficiently tightening the fastener device 60. For example, the fastener device 60 may be sufficiently tightened such that the first and second mounting protrusions 16 a, 16 b are at least partially embedded within the support post 40 until the substantially concave mounting surface 14 engages the substantially convex mounting area 44 of the support post 40 to achieve the three point contact arrangement.
Although not required, the fastener device 60 may still be further tightened such that at least a portion of the substantially convex mounting area 44 of the support post conforms to the shape of the concave mounting surface 14 of the support member 10. For example, as shown in
From the above description of the invention, those skilled in the art will perceive improvements, changes and modifications. Such improvements, changes and modifications within the skill of the art are intended to be covered by the appended claims.
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|U.S. Classification||29/525.01, 29/521, 256/13.1|
|International Classification||B23P11/00, E01F15/00, A01K3/00, E01F15/04|
|Cooperative Classification||Y10T29/49947, Y10T29/49936, E01F15/0438, E01F15/0453|
|European Classification||E01F15/04F, E01F15/04B6|